Belgium: Dark horses for the 2018 World Cup?

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Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images.

Roberto Martínez’s Belgium team have got talent and experience throughout the team, so they could surprise people at the World Cup.

Belgium have quietly gone about their business in qualifying with eight wins and a draw in the nine games they have played. They were the first European team to qualify, but have received little attention compared to the other big European teams.

Going into the 2014 World Cup, they were picked by many to be the surprise package due to a ‘golden generation’ of talent that had made their way into the first team. They reached the quarter-finals, but weren’t overly impressive in the tournament. This was seen as acceptable, though, as long as there continued to progress. Euro 2016 was hugely disappointing for them because they were knocked out by Wales in the quarter-finals.

This led to the sacking of manager Marc Wilmots with Martínez brought in to replace him. The idea behind this being that he could get the best out of their array of attacking talent. A change in manager as well as a reduction in expectations could get the best out of this talented bunch. There are factors that become important closer to the time such as the potential difficulty of their group as well as injuries. However, they have the necessary tools in the squad to get past these issues.

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